Corona Virus Safety Tips
We're all concerned about everyone's safety during this world health crisis.
There is much information swirling around the world of the internet and news broadcasts about the Covid-19 virus. It seems to me that there is a lot of conflicting information out there. This could be due to the fact that this is so new, and the situation is evolving on a daily basis.
If you're like me, you could be wondering what the real story is and who to trust.
Of course, I am following the guidelines of washing my hands with soap and water for 20 seconds (long enough to sing the "Happy Birthday Song" to myself twice, as well as doing my best to refrain from touching my face, and adhering to social distancing. But I have a lot of questions about what is safe and what isn't.
A friend shared some important information with me that helped to calm some of my fears of the unknown.
This very helpful information came from Irene Ken, a physician whose daughter is an assistant professor of infectious diseases at Johns Hopkins University. It is the best and most up to date information I've seen about the Covid-19 virus.
I was surprised that the virus is not alive.
It is a DNA protein molecule that is covered by a protective layer of fat. When it is absorbed by the cells of your eyes, nose, or mouth, the virus causes a mutation in them by changing the genetic code of the affected cells and converting them into aggressive multiplier cells, so that they replicatea the virus.
You cannot kill the virus because it is not a living organism.
Since the virus is a protein molecule and not a living organism, it cannot be killed. It decays on its own. The length of time required for this process to occur depends on the temperature, humidity, and kind of material that it lands on.
The virus is very fragile.
It has no cell membrane to protect it, but only a thin layer of fat. This is the reason soap is the most effective way to destroy the virus. The foam breaks down this protective fat layer, causing the protein molecule to disperse, thus destroying the virus. That is why you have to rub your hands for 20 seconds or more in order to make a lot of foam.
If we can't kill it, how do we get rid of it?
Use hot water.
Water that is above 77 degrees Fahrenheit should be used to wash hands, clothing, and dishes. Heat melts fat, and hot water makes more foam, so there is a double benefit to using hot water.
Alcohol dissolves fat.
Hand sanitizers or cleansers with over 65% alcohol will dissolve the outer fat layer of the virus.
Bleach dissolves protein.
A mixture of 1 part bleach to 5 parts water directly dissolves the protein, and the virus breaks down from the inside.
Hydrogen peroxide dissolves protein.
Full strength hydrogen peroxide is effective longer than soap, alcohol, and chlorine because it dissolves the virus protein, but it will burn your skin. I would recommend wearing rubber gloves and disinfecting surfaces, dishes, and hard surfaced articles with it, but not fabric. It will damage the color of the cloth. (Some of you might remember when women used peroxide to become blondes!)
LISTERINE works because it is 65% alcohol.
So if you can't get alcohol or Chlorox, you can still sanitize your environment!
Do not use antibacterial soap.
A virus is not a living organism like bacteria. Therefore, antibiotics cannot kill it. It's impossible to kill something that is not alive. Antibacterial soap helps bacteria mutate into antibiotic resistant strains, but it cannot destroy a virus.
Do not use vinegar to disinfect.
It does not break down the protective layer of fat, so it does not destroy the virus.
Alcoholic drinks will not destroy the virus.
The alcohol congtent is not high enough; you need 65% to be effective.
NEVER shake clothing, sheets, laundry, or anything made of cloth.
If you shake an item with the virus on it, the molecules float in the air for up to 3 hours, and can lodge in your nose.
When the virus is stuck to a surface, it is very inert and disintegrates.
It takes 3 hours for the virus to disintegtrate on porous surfaces, such a fabric; 4 hours on copper and wood; 24 hours on cardboard; 42 hours on metal, and 72 hours on plastic.
Do not use a feather duster or dust cloth to clean surfaces.
This will have the same effect as shaking clothing -- scattering the virus molecules and sending them airborne, where they will float around for another three hours prior to disintegrating. Use an alcohol wipe or a bleach solution to clean counter tops, sinks, doorknobs, etc. If dusting furniture, use a dustcloth dampened with Pledge or Endust so the virus will stick to it instead of being scattered in the air. Then wash the dustcloth in hot water and soap.
Cold will not destroy the virus.
The virus molecules do not break down; they remain very stable in cold temperatures. Therefore, cold environments such as air conditioned houses and cars are more likely to contain the viable viruses.The molecules also need moisture and darkness to remain stable. An environment that is dry, dehumidified, warm, and bright will degrade the virus more quickly than a cold, dark, damp one will. Open, well ventillated spaces are healthier because the more confined spaces can have a higher concentration of the virus.
Cooking does destroy the virus, but refrigeration or freezing does not.
UV LIGHT breaks down the virus protein.
It can be used to disinfect items such as masks or gowns, but can also break down collagen. Therefore, skin should be protected while utilizing a UV light for sterilization purposes.
The virus CANNOT go through healthy skin.
It is wonderful to know this; however, you should still wear gloves when shopping or handling items that might have been contaminated because the virus remains stable on them for several hours, or even days, depending on the material. When you discard your gloves, grasp the glove at the wrist area, pull down so that the inside of the glove is facing you. The glove wil turn inside out as you peel it off of your hand. Then, while holding that inside out glove in your other hand, do the same thing with the other glove. This will put the second glove inside the first one before you throw them away, thus keeping the virus molecules on the inside of the gloves.
You MUST wash your hands before and after touching items such as:
your face, food, locks, door knobs, switches, remote control, cell phone, watches, computers, desks, TV, or any other frequently used articles. Clean your phone, remote control, and computer, with a sanitizing wipe frequently. And, of course, always wash your hands after using the restroom.
Your hands will likely get dry and sore from washing them so much. Apply hand lotion to dry skin because the virus molecules can hide in the small cracks. The thicker the moisturizer, the better. Also keep your NAILS SHORT so that the virus does not hide under them.
Stay home as much as possible and away from crowded places.
Maintain social distancing. Assume that everyone you meet might be positive for the Corona virus even if they are not sick. They might have been unknowingly exposed to it and are carriers, even though they have not yet developed symptoms. Be sure to stay well hydrated.
Avoid eating in restaurants, (even if you can find one open!) You do not know if the person handling your food is infected. I would take this a step further and avoid using take out or delivery meals as well, for the same reason.
Keep a positive attitude, eat nutritious meals, stay hydrated, stay safe, and stay well!Carol Meador